Thursday, December 24, 2009


Here's hoping your Christmas is a very blessed and wonderful one, filled with all of the truly good and important things in life -- and perhaps a little "razzelberry dressing" and more than one "woofle jelly cake."

Here's a little something from me, courtesy of the first, and still the best, animated Christmas special EVER produced for television. (Music by Julie Styne, and lyrics by Bob Merrill, by the way!)

Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How to Be a Good Client

Here's an early Christmas (or a late Hanukkah) present for those of you out there who hire agencies.

Ryan Greives writes a quick primer on what it takes to be a good client (click here) for a PR firm. Almost all of this is certainly applicable to ad agencies, design firms, and interactive shops as well.

If you hire any type of marketing communications firm, this Top 10 list is required reading. By following these simple suggestions, you will get your firm to work harder and to always do their absolute best for you.

If I might add an additional point: Know that all we want is to make you look good. We are not out to take your job (we are on the "agency side" because that's what we love to do). And we are not out to grab the glory. No, our "glory" comes from having a satisfied and appreciative client who pays our bills in a timely manner. Making you look like a superstar to your CEO, your Board, or whomever signs your paycheck is the best possible outcome for us.

Hope you have a very happy holiday season, and my best wishes for a very successful and rewarding 2010!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

And the Gold Medal Goes to...

Well, maybe our client Vision Research won't be on the medal stand in Vancouver, but their technology will be helping American Olympians and the American viewing public to better understand just what goes into a winning performance.

NBC, which is covering the Olympics, has enlisted the Vision Research ultra-high-speed Phantom camera to "slow down" the action of Olympic athletes, giving them and their coaches information that can lead to a winning edge.

At the same time, the television viewing public gets to see amazing details and things that give a far greater appreciation to the physics of sport.

Check out this report (click here) from Lester Holt on the TODAY Show, breaking down how US Olympian Julie Chu generates so much velocity to her slap shot.

Vision Research cameras serve a wealth of important functions, slowing down even the fastest motion to allow the analysis of motion that is far too fast for the human eye, and even beyond the capabilities of traditional film and video cameras.

I don't know about you, but I think this stuff is REALLY cool! For a gallery of ultra-high-speed video shot with Vision Research cameras, click here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

When "10 Times as Slow" is BETTER!

Here's a very interesting article about what the NFL is doing to promote itself.

The cameras used to produce the striking images in this campaign are made in the USA by Vision Research -- one of my clients. The cameras have been used in the past two Super Bowls by the CBS (Giants win over New England) and the FOX (Steelers last year) production crews -- with amazing success. The ultra slo-mo of the Giants' David Tyree catch replay was called "the most replayed highlight of the year" by ESPN. And if you remember last year, two different scoring plays were ruled on by slo-mo from Vision Research Phantom HD cameras.

The military routinely uses a series of Vision Research cameras, sometimes shooting 1.4 MILLION FRAMES PER SECOND to record and analyze weapons systems.

To see some astounding non-sports footage, go to, and click on GALLERY at the top.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

David Griner, a social media strategist for Luckie & Company in Birmingham, AL, just published what I see as the definitive outline of rules for beginning -- and more importantly -- continuing and profiting from a social media program.

With the very catchy title "The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media," Griner's article is both fun to read and a real eye-opener. So click on it here and let me (and David!) know what you think!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rupert Murdoch "Gets It"

Newspaper maven Rupert Murdoch just appointed Jonathan Miller, recently of AOL, as his head of digital operations. This includes a wide range of products, including MySpace, Photobucket, and Hulu. Miller's job is to make sure Murdoch's News Corp.'s online assets are "central to, not separate from, the enterprise."

Instead of newspapers bitching about how the Internet is killing them, perhaps they'd do better to look to the vision that Murdoch seems to possess. Yes, old Rupert "gets it" -- media convergence is here to stay.

Now you tell me: if a 78-year-old Australian can figure it out, why can't the New York Times?

Newspapers that think their old tried and true model (sell ads, build subscription base, take money to the bank) will work in the 21st Century are sorely mistaken. And, no, it's NOT enough to just put your content up online and sell a few Internet banners. It's time for a fully integrated strategy. Newspaper content has always been superior. How about starting THERE and leveraging that as an advantage?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

If Facebook Were a Country...

...It would be the 5th most populous on the globe!

Yes, Facebook just passed the 200 million (!) mark in active users. For those of you who STILL think Facebook is the 21st Century equivalent of passing a note in study hall, it's time you shifted your thinking.

If you are NOT on Facebook, you might want to give it a try.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Time to Stop Using "Time" in My Post Headlines

Just looked back at my blog and noticed that I seem to constantly be telling people what time it is. If you are depending on me for this, perhaps it's time you bought a watch!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Time for Newspapers to Charge for Online Content

Rupert Murdoch said last week that he thought that newspapers would have to begin charging for their content for economic survival.

Now isn't that a novel idea -- actually charging for your work!

The New York Times website is one of the most visited, quoted, linked to, and credible sites on the Internet. People all over the world seek out their content. And why not? For all of the bellyaching of the far right, the Times is still the "paper of record" in the United States.

And yet, The Times is losing money.

It's time for newspapers to adopt an economic model that makes sense. Just about nobody this side of Rush Limbaugh wants to see newspapers go the way of the dodo bird. If we need to pay a little for our newspaper content -- especially important papers like The Times -- then I say let's go for it!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Time to Act Courageously

A colleague, Ken Jacobs, just posted a very thoughtful and inspiring piece as a guest blogger on the ThoughtLEADERS.LLC Blog. It is on leadership in these trying times, and is well worth the read. Check it out here.

A real shout-out to Ken Jacobs for (once again) hitting the nail squarely on the head.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Time to "Re-Balance?"

OK, so the economy sucks, and we've all lost a good amount of money in our investment portfolios. And yet, a whole lot of television commercials, billboards, print ads and radio spots are hounding us about "re-balancing our portfolios."

It got me thinking. Shouldn't smart marketers also consider re-balancing their marketing budgets as a result of these trying economic times?

Just because you've ALWAYS done something one way doesn't mean you need to go on repeating the same thing over and over. Remember Einstein's definition of insanity -- doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

If you want to change your marketing results, it just may be time to re-balance your marketing portfolio.

Several new and existing clients have come to us recently asking us to take a look at their overall marketing expenditures. In every case we were able to point out a large number of wasted expenditures -- primarily advertising buys that remain on schedules because they've "always been there," or because "the ad rep buys me a bottle of Maker's Mark every Christmas."

But the world has changed. Unless you are confident that ALL of your marketing and communication expenditures are delivering a real return on your investment (and not just another cost headed straight to the wrong side of the balance sheet), it's probably time to change your way of thinking too.

In flush times, it's easy to just continue doing what you've always done, because, well, we were all making good money, right? And what "worked" from a marketing standpoint wasn't nearly as critical as it is now, during the "Great Recession."

I am 100% confident that a sound, strategic PR program delivers substantial ROI -- well in excess of its cost, and far greater than many advertising-heavy plans. Ping me if you want to learn more.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

These are the Times that Try Men's Souls

With those famous words, Thomas Paine began his second-most famous paper, "The Crisis." The pamphlet was published at perhaps the darkest hour of the American Revolution, on December 23, 1776, at a time when Washington's Army was in disarray and popular support for armed insurrection against England was waining dramatically. American independence hung in the balance, and the world looked to see if the rag-tag assembly of disparate colonies could break away and establish a government based on the principles so eloquently articulated by Thomas Jefferson in our Declaration of Independence.

So why the history lesson? Because I can see many parallels to the precarious economic situation we find ourselves in today. With the constant barrage of bad news in the media about troubles at institutions that we once felt were rock-solid, with our life savings cut in half in a matter of a few short months (did anybody get the license number on that truck that hit us?) and with nothing but hope -- forget about faith -- in our government's ability to "do something about it," many of us are feeling that we may have reached the end of the "American Century." Yes, these are, once again, the times that try men's souls.

But like Paine in 1776, I have no doubt in the spirit and ability of America to weather this storm and to rise above our present crisis.

We must all summon our "inner Chumbawumba" -- get knocked down; get up again. Show personal leadership wherever you can. This is no time for, as Paine labeled it "the summer soldier" and "the sunshine patriot" who "will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country."

Let me get completely out of the way and let Paine have the last word.

"We have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Question That EVERY Parent of a College-Age Student Should Ask

I am just back from a college tour of Lafayette College in Easton, PA with my 17-year-old son. Lafayette is a GREAT school, and my wife, my son and I were all very impressed. It is certainly high up on his list.

As we toured the campus we were taken to lots of different locations -- the library, a dining hall, classrooms, lecture halls and recreational facilities. One of our stops was in one of the residence halls. As we looked around at the "accommodations," I asked my tour guide a question that I strongly believe every parent of prospective college-age students should ask:

"Are ALL of the dorms equipped with automatic fire sprinkler systems?"

All of the other parents on the tour said, "Good question," perhaps with a vague memory of the 2000 Seton Hall University dorm fire that killed three students and seriously injured many more -- some permanently.

The fire started as a prank by two students. It quickly spread, releasing blinding, acrid smoke, and toxic fumes.

Had automatic fire sprinklers been installed, officials believe the fire would have been quickly contained, with minimal injuries (if any) and no loss of life.

Don't send your son or daughter off to college in a dorm that doesn't offer this simple, but essential life safety protection.

But don't just take my word for it. For more information, go to The Center for Campus Fire Safety website. The information you learn could save your child's life.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are Trade Shows Dying?

A friend of mine who runs one of the top tech PR firms in the UK asked me today if I thought that trade shows were dying.

A good (and complicated) question.

If you are asking if the "salad days" of sky's-the-limit, over the top trade show blow-out la-la-paloozas are over, then I think the answer is unmistakably yes. I was at CES again this year (about my 15th in a row -- I've kind of lost track), and attendance and extravagance were both greatly diminished.

But this is probably a good thing. It allows us to focus on what we are all there for in the first place: to promote our business (in our case, our clients' business) to those who are most likely to be our customers. To quote the Wikipedia entry:

A trade fair (trade show or expo) is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products, service, study activities of rivals and examine recent trends and opportunities. Some trade fairs are open to the public, while others can only be attended by company representatives (members of the trade) and members of the press.

It's time to re-think the trade show.

Getting more from your trade show requires a strategic approach that will attract prospects and generate interest in your company and your products.

Drop me a line if you want to know how we are successfully doing this for clients in a broad spectrum of industries.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Nobody Goes There Anymore, It's Too Crowded

I love "Yogi-isms." And the one that I've swiped to title this post is typical of the appeal of Yogi Berra's unique brand of scratch-your-head honesty -- how could a place be crowded if nobody goes there?

Try this one: Newspapers are dying because nobody reads them anymore.

Conventional wisdom (and circulation figures) seem to back that up. So how come the New York Times saw OVER 40 million unique visitors to its website in December, 2008? Just who are these 40 million-plus people, if not readers of the New York Times?

There is no question that the newspaper business will have to change its business model to survive in the rapidly-changing world of media delivery. But these figures -- and the fact that the New York Times is among the most quoted news source on the Web today -- belie the demise of it, or many other "newspapers of record" around the country.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Riddle Me This.....

If newspapers are "dead," why is it that more people read a newspaper the day AFTER the Super Bowl, than actually WATCHED the Super Bowl game itself?

This great ad was placed by The Newspaper Project:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Amazing Game!

If you watched the Super Bowl (who doesn't?), you were treated to one of the best post-season games EVER. This game had everything -- including a touchdown that was OVERTURNED because of the watchful eye of an ultra-high-speed digital camera, that just happens to be manufactured by Vision Research of Wayne, New Jersey. (Disclosure: Vision Research is a client of my firm.)

NBC utilized three of Vision Research's ultra high speed Phantom digital cameras to capture the game -- and to provide definitive footage for several reviewable calls throughout the night.

I love this kind of technology, and I love being involved with brands that truly stand out and set the pace in their respective fields.

Congratulations to the Steelers AND to Vision Research!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Newspaper Project

I am an unabashed fan of newspapers. I love just about everything about them. For that reason, I am thrilled that the newspaper industry has banded together to form The Newspaper Project, an online resource and discussion site about the future of newspapers in our society.

Here's what they have to say about themselves: was launched in 2009 by a small group of newspaper executives to support a constructive exchange of information and ideas about the future of newspapers. While we acknowledge the challenges facing the newspaper industry in today’s rapidly changing media world, we reject the notion that newspapers—and the valuable content that newspaper journalists provide—have no future.

BRAVO! And good luck!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Words of Wisdom from the Oracle of Omaha

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to lose it." - Warren Buffett

No matter what your industry, crisis preparedness and a plan for a disciplined response is a necessity. How your organization behaves and communicates during a crisis can be crucial to your future. And it’s not enough to simply anticipate a crisis. You must contend with the actual issue or problem, and – in a world where news and internet rumors can reach around the globe in seconds – the fallout if the situation is not addressed swiftly and effectively.

Do you have an updated crisis communications plan for your company?

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Forgive me for a moment while I vent about one of the silliest things in the Public Relations industry.

Isn't it time to stop the silly feud between Jack O'Dwyer and the Public Relations Society of America?

It's time for BOTH parties to call a truce.

PRSA (you first, because you won the coin toss): Lift the boycott of O'Dwyer publications. Answer Jack's very reasonable questions. And open up a bit (don't we in the PR business preach openness and transparency?).

Jack: It's time to resume the use of the capital A on your keyboard (just press the "shift" key with your right pinky, and then hit the "a" key with your left pinky). Oh, and in the day and age of the Internet, the printed directory is a dinosaur that costs too much and is out of date before it is published.

Unilateral action by either party is encouraged.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Reports of the Demise of Conventional Marketing Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Happy New Year!

So I read the other day that some folks are actually saying that the meteoric rise of social media tools has rendered conventional marketing irrelevant.

You gotta be kidding me.

I am a BIG proponent of incorporating social media into almost everyone's marketing mix. And yes, for some products, services or brands, social media should be a cornerstone of their marketing effort.

And there is no question in my mind that social media's importance, its use and its prevalence will increase geometrically as time goes on.

But ask yourself this: Can you really afford to put all of your eggs into the social media basket when (pause for effect here), THE VAST MAJORITY OF CONSUMERS ARE NOT USING ANY TYPE OF SOCIAL MEDIA.

Every now and again it's best to stop and take a reality check.